Running is one of the most popular ways to stay fit, and many people run because they enjoy it. But when you love something, it’s easy to overlook the positive effects it can have on your overall health—especially if you’re new to running and don’t yet see how it can change your life. In this blog post, we will explore how you can improve your running and become a good runner using proper techniques and how you can use running on a regular basis to feel happier and more fulfilled in your daily life. When you start running, you may find that your mood improves in the short term but stick with it over time and you may see even bigger results!
How to start
Before you start running, it’s important to make sure you are physically able. It’s also best to consult with your doctor and make sure he or she gives you the all-clear. Make sure you wear comfortable running shoes (the thicker and more cushioning, the better) and that your clothes are suitable for outdoor exercise.
Build endurance first, then speed
At first, it’s better to focus on building endurance rather than trying to run as fast as you can. If you try and build speed before endurance, you are likely to end up injured and frustrated. Plus, running is one of those activities that gives you more for less; increased endurance leads to increased speed. The best way to build endurance is by increasing your overall mileage gradually over time. For example, if you normally run 5 miles in 30 minutes, increase your distance by 1 mile each week until you reach 10 miles in 30 minutes. After reaching 10 miles in 30 minutes, begin decreasing your distance by 1 mile each week until you return to 5 miles in 30 minutes. Then start again with an additional 1-mile increase per week. (Note: This process will take approximately 4–6 months.)
Focus on your breathing and posture
When running, focus on your breathing and posture. Make sure you’re not slouching and hold your head up high. You should also keep your eyes always focused 10 to 20 yards in front of you. This will help you maintain good posture. Don’t forget to breathe! If you tend to hold your breath when running, try taking short breaths that go from your nose to mouth with each stride. It may feel awkward at first, but it will get easier over time. Practice proper breathing while running every day. The more you practice, the more natural it will become. Before long, your whole body will naturally move in rhythm with your breathing—making for a much more enjoyable run.
Set realistic goals
The key to staying motivated over time is to be realistic about your progress. Be honest with yourself and set goals that are challenging but not too difficult to achieve. Then, as you reach each goal, think of what your next goals might be and continue setting them in small steps until you’ve reached your final goal. Realistic goals will keep you moving forward without being frustrated by missed targets. They’ll also give you something to work toward when you hit a plateau. A good way to figure out how much running you should do per week is to take your current pace and multiply it by six: For example, if your average mile-per-minute pace is eight minutes, then eight times six equals 48 minutes of running per week—or four miles. This can be adjusted based on other factors like race training or injury recovery.
Staying hydrated is essential to your overall health, but in addition to supporting your body’s natural systems, drinking enough water can also boost happiness levels. According to research from Loughborough University in Great Britain, individuals who regularly consume water—and don’t take in enough of it—are more likely to report feelings of depression. In other words, if you’re not drinking enough H2O, you may be lacking some serious emotional support. Keep yourself hydrated by reaching for a glass of water throughout your day. Not only will you feel better physically, but you’ll also find yourself smiling more often.
Learn how to meditate while you run
One of my favorite things about running is that you can bring your own soundtrack along. It’s also one of my least favorite things about running. I enjoy having a song stuck in my head as much as anyone, but when I’m trying to concentrate, it can get really distracting. One solution to this problem? Learn how to meditate while you run. Instead of zoning out with music, use your time jogging to free your mind and boost your happiness. If you need some help getting started, here are some great resources: How to Meditate (Beginner’s Guide) How to Meditate (Advanced Techniques)
Challenge yourself with new activities
Challenging yourself to try new activities or fitness regimens can bring a lot of joy into your life. Instead of always running around in circles, take up yoga, ballroom dancing, kayaking or even rollerblading. These forms of exercise have been shown to help you lose weight and improve your emotional health. If you’re not sure where to start, ask friends for recommendations or look online for local classes. You might be surprised at how much fun these alternative activities are!